|02-16-2012, 09:03 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2004
Blog Entries: 3
Deaf puppy gets second chance
Deaf puppy gets second chance - Your News - Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader
Leading animal welfare organisation, Animal Aid, is thrilled that Chicane, a deaf six month old staffy, has found a loving home, with the shelter providing valuable tools and support to give Chicane and his new family the best chance of success.
Born deaf, Chicane, was found as a stray to the Animal Aid shelter in Coldstream in November, where staff began to teach Chicane basic commands via hand signals.
According to Animal Aid Behaviour and Animal Training Co-ordinator, Meg Ryan, teaching a deaf dog a variety of skills such as walk on a lead, not to jump and toilet training, is the same as with a hearing dog.
“The main difference is that some of the techniques used for other dogs, have to be altered to cater for Chicane’s deafness,” she said.
“Chicane’s everyday commands have to be converted from voice commands to hand signals. From the dog’s point of view, this actually makes a lot of sense and is not as hard as you would think, as dogs do not rely as heavily on the voice as humans do, but rather rely on body language. The main challenge is getting their attention in the first place”
Natasha Ramm, of Belgrave, had recently started looking for a dog to adopt after the death of her previous dog, Guerra, nearly 12 months earlier.
Natasha also has four cats so she was keen to expand her family with another pooch.
Natasha has always been a dedicated pet owner since childhood and was drawn to Chicane at the Animal Aid shelter for his lovely nature, endearing personality and because she just loves staffys.
“Chicane is such a delightful dog and has been able to pick up my hand signals with great enthusiasm,” she said.
“Deaf dogs can never go off a lead no matter how well trained they are. If Chicane cannot see me, I cannot communicate with him.
“Using a variety of hand gestures makes me more of a consistent trainer as you use the same gestures to reward or react to bad behaviour. There is no yelling, and no animal really responds well to that anyway.”
“If you are interested in adopting a pet with special needs, the best advice I can give you is to do your homework, be realistic about the effort involved in having that pet and seek professional advice. At Animal Aid, I am taking advantage of their Post Adoption Training which will involve developing and fine tuning my hand signals and help identify and deal with the challenges ahead.”
“What I also find fantastic is the one-on-one personalised training available at Animal Aid. Meg Ryan really caters for the personalities of both Chicane and myself when offering advice. Knowing that I have a strong support network at Animal Aid is very reassuring.”
“I would also recommend that you talk to a variety of people, such as your local vet and participate in formalised obedience training – it is a great socialisation tool for both you and your dog.”
“Chicane also wears a collar stating that he is deaf, which is meant to help other people understand why Chicane is not listening to what they are saying or requesting. Because of his deafness, I always need to be mindful with other dogs who may growl at him, he may not pick up on their initial warning and it could result in an otherwise avoidable conflict.”
Meg Ryan also says that it takes persistence and dedication to commit to adopting a pet with special needs such as Chicane.
“It took one month before Chicane found his forever home and I have no doubt that with Natasha’s passion and positive nature, Chicane will continue to thrive and have a full life. That is a great result.”
"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
- Helen Keller